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Adapting to climate change

Find out how your business can best adapt to climate change in Scotland.

Scotland’s climate, like the rest of the world, is changing. Scottish businesses are challenged with coping with this in two ways – by reducing their emissions and adapting to changes.

Businesses in Scotland are already being impacted by climate-related problems such as storms and heavy flooding. In 2007, 28 per cent of businesses in the UK reported disruption as a result of extreme weather. The associated costs can be huge.

Tourism businesses will benefit from being aware of their vulnerabilities, and by preparing for such events. Everyone should be in a position to manage the risks that a changing climate presents. 

Planning ahead is not only more cost-effective – it also gives businesses time to look at new commercial opportunities that will arise as a result of climate change.

The big picture

Change is unavoidable. Even if all greenhouse gas emissions are reduced tomorrow, the effect of today’s level of greenhouse gases cannot be reversed.

These changes could be an issue for your business, but they can be managed like any other potential risk. Planning ahead is more cost-effective than reacting at the time a problem hits.

It’s not all bad news – climate change will also bring new opportunities, so businesses should be aware and ready to take action.

Things you should know

The expected climate changes are: warmer, drier summers; milder, wetter winters; rising sea levels e.g. the sea level in Edinburgh is projected to increase by up to 39cm by 2095; more very hot days; more intense downpours of rain; less snowfall.

It will affect nature around us and could impact the Scottish tourism season. Earlier buds on plants and the earlier arrival of migrating birds are good indicators.

Weather changes can impact customers and staff as much as good and services. Working conditions, both inside and out, may also require adaptation.

Thoughts for the future

Think about how you can adapt to future emerging trends of outdoor leisure and al fresco dining.

Adaptation options can range from the very practical e.g. moving IT equipment to upper floors for protection, to the more strategic e.g. raising awareness. Get your staff involved in a brainstorming session. 

Evaluate potential cost reduction benefits too, such as lower winter heating bills.

If you are already experiencing problems with climate-related issues, like costly insurance, or if you are planning a long-term decision, then take action sooner. If not, you could weigh up the risks facing your business with the potential costs.

If you remember one thing

Like any kind of change, climate change will also bring new opportunities for businesses. It’s a matter of being prepared and ready to meet the changing needs of your visitors.